We need continual quickening to maintain our steadfastness in the precepts. "God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, has quickened us, together with Christ." But without daily quickening after the same loving-kindness, "the things which remain will be ready to die." For every breath of prayer, Divine influence must flow, "Quicken us, and we shall call upon Your name." For the work of praise, without the same influence we are dumb., "Let my soul live, and it shall praise You." For the exercise of every spiritual grace, there must be the commanding voice of our Divine Head, "Awake, O north wind; and come, you south: blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out." Thus is the creature laid in the dust, and all the glory is given to God. "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God."
Why is it, then, that at one time we spring to duty as the joy of our life; while at other times the soul is so chained down under the power of corruption, that it scarcely can put forth the feeblest exercise of life? The source of our life is the same;, "Hid with Christ in God." But the power of the flesh hinders its every motion. Such a spiritual sloth has benumbed us—such backwardness to prayer, and disrelish for heavenly things! These are sins deeply humbling in themselves, and aggravated by the neglect of the plentiful provision laid up in Christ, not only for the life, but for the peace, joy, and strength of the soul. Nothing but indolence or unbelief straitens our supplies. Oh! stir up the prayer for quickening influence, and we shall be rich and fruitful. Sometimes also self-confidence paralyzes our spiritual energy. We expect our recovery from a lifeless state by more determined resolutions, or increased improvement of the various means of grace. Let these means indeed be used with all diligence, but with the fullest conviction that all means, all instruments, all helps of every kind, without the influence of the Spirit of grace, are dead. "It is the Spirit that quickens; the flesh profits nothing."
These records of David's prayers strikingly mark the intensity of his desire to live to God. Every decay of strength and activity was, as it were, death to him, and awakened his reiterated cries. Do we desire to keep the testimony of His mouth? Do we mourn over our shortcomings in service? Oh! then, for our own sake, for the Lord's sake, and for the church's and the world's sake, let our petitions be incessant each one for himself—'Quicken me—Quicken this slothful heart of mine. Enkindle afresh the sacred spark within, and let me be all alive for You.' Let faith be kept alive and active at the throne of grace, and all will be alive; our obligation will be deeply felt, and practically acknowledged.
The title here given to the directory of our duty—the testimony of God's mouth—adds strength to our obligations. Thus let every word we read or hear be regarded as coming directly from the mouth of God. What reverence, what implicit submission does it demand! May it ever find us in the posture of attention, humility, and faith, each one of us ready to say, "Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears!"
"Quicken me after your loving-kindness." Most wise, most blessed prayer! If we are revived in our own personal piety we shall be out of reach of our assailants. Our best protection from tempters and persecutors is more life. Loving-kindness itself cannot do us greater service than by making us to have life more abundantly. When we are quickened we are able to bear affliction, to baffle cunning, and to conquer sin. We look to the loving-kindness of God as the source of spiritual revival, and we entreat the Lord to quicken us, not according to our deserts, but after the boundless energy of his grace. What a blessed word is this "loving-kindness"! Take it to pieces, and admire its double force of love.
"So shall I keep the testimony of your mouth." If quickened by the Holy Spirit we shall keep God's testimony by a holy character. We shall also be faithful to sound doctrine when the Spirit visits us and makes us faithful. None keep the word of the Lord's mouth unless the word of the Lord's mouth quickens them. We ought greatly to admire the spiritual prudence of the Psalmist, who does not so much pray for freedom from trial as for renewed life that he may be supported under it. When the inner life is vigorous all is well. David prayed for a sound heart in the closing verse of the last octave, and here he seeks a revived heart; this is going to the root of the matter, by seeking that which is the most needful of all things. Lord, let it be heart-work with us, and let our hearts be right with you.
Exposition of Verses 89 to 96
FOREVER, O LORD, your word is settled in Heaven.
Your faithfulness is unto all generations: you have established the earth, and it abides.
They continue this day according to your ordinances: for all are your servants.
Unless your law had been my delights, I should then have perished in my affliction.
I will never forget your precepts: for with them you have quickened me.
I am your, save me; for I have sought your precepts.
The wicked have waited for me to destroy me: but I will consider your testimonies.
I have seen an end of all perfection: but your commandment is exceeding broad.